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Video of IIT-Mandi Director Speaking About His 'Exorcism Act' Sparks Controversy

In the clip, he narrated his attempt at ridding his friend's parents and their apartment of 'evil spirits'.

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A video of the newly appointed Director of IIT-Mandi, Laxmidhar Behera, speaking about his apparent act of exorcism has surfaced online, according to a report by The Indian Express. The video uploaded on a YouTube channel was later made private, and is not available for public view.

In the five-minute clip, Behera spoke about how his 'act of exorcism' had helped rid his friend's parents and their apartment of 'evil spirits'. He told the newspaper that ghosts existed, adding that some occurrences could not be explained with the help of modern science.

In the video, he narrated how he had traveled to Chennai in 1993 to help a friend whose family was "affected by ghosts." He said that he had started performing the thoughts and wisdom in the Bhagavad Gita as well as chanting "Hare Rama, Hare Krishna." He said in the video that he then saw his friend's father performing a "ghastly dance." "You could feel that he is being completely devoured by the evil spirit," the director is heard saying.

The video was posted on a YouTube channel called 'Learn Gita Live Gita'. The tagline of the channel reads: "Project by IITIANS who live Gita." The 'About' section of the page reads, "For the peace and prosperity of society, we, a group of IIT graduates, work among the school and college students as well as working professionals to impart the teachings of Bhagavad Gita systematically."

It adds that its mission is to "systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world."

Behera was previously a professor at IIT-Kanpur in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His specialisations include robotics and artificial intelligence. According to his profile on the website, he has completed 30 projects, has 307 publications, and 2,612 citations. He was earlier heading the Intelligent Systems and Control Laboratory at IIT-Kanpur. He has been associated with IIT Kanpur since 2001, before which he was associated with BITS-Pilani and REC-Rourkela.

The selection committee that appointed him comprised the Government of India’s Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan, IIT-Hyderabad chairman BVR Mohan Reddy, Standing Committee for IIT Council Chairman K Radhakrishnan, IIT-Mandi Chairman Prem Vrat, then Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare and Education Minister Pradhan.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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